As Tiffany Li murder trial opens, defense says prosecutors got it wrong

Tiffany Li, right, and her attorney, Geoff Carr, arrive at the San Mateo County Government Center in Redwood City on Sept. 12. AP file photo.
Tiffany Li, right, and her attorney, Geoff Carr, arrive at the San Mateo County Government Center in Redwood City on Sept. 12. AP file photo.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Attorneys for the Hillsborough real estate scion Tiffany Li, who is on trial for orchestrating the murder of her children’s father, claim prosecutors have charged the wrong people, and that the victim died as the result of a botched kidnapping.

Opening statements began yesterday in the trial of Li, 34, and her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, 33, who are accused of conspiring to murder Keith Green, 27.

The case drew national headlines on April 7, 2016, when she bailed out on $62 million in property bonds. Li comes from a wealthy Chinese family that made their money in real estate.

Family and friends of Li and Green, reporters and onlookers packed the Redwood City courtroom yesterday, with extra seats lining the edges of the courtroom. At one point, the bailiff had to post a sign on the door saying that the courtroom was at capacity and standing in Judge Robert Foiles’ courtroom was not allowed.

Two-month trial

Over the next two months, the jury will hear from witnesses and view evidence related to the case and will ultimately have to decide if Li and Bayat are responsible for Green’s killing.

In their opening statements, the attorneys for Li and Bayat said it was actually a third party, Olivier Adella, who killed Green during an attempted kidnapping.
The attorneys did not completely lay out Adella’s alleged motive.

However, prosecutor Bryan Abanto said Li and Bayat killed Green because she feared losing custody of their two daughters.

Abanto told the jury that he will show them evidence that Green was lured to a meeting with Li at the Millbrae Pancake House on April 28, 2016, and was later shot by Bayat in the garage of Li’s mansion.

Adella supposedly paid to dispose of body

Abanto said that the couple paid Adella $35,000 to dispose of Green’s body and cover up the murder.

Green’s body was found in May 2016 with a bullet to the head in Sonoma County.

But Li’s attorney, Geoff Carr, said that the police investigation into Green’s murder was of a kidnapping gone wrong until Adella started “spinning a fairy tale” in which he implicated Li and Bayat.

Adella will not be testifying.

Adella was offered a plea deal in February 2018 in exchange for his testimony against Li and Bayat. However, two weeks ago, it came to light that Adella allegedly sent threatening messages to a defense witness. As a result, prosecutors dropped him as a witness.

Adella pleaded no contest last year to a charge that alleges he disposed of Green’s body in Sonoma County.

Carr made it clear during a brief press conference yesterday that the defense attorneys will not be calling Adella as a witness. He repeatedly called Adella a liar.

Carr’s co-counsel, May Mar, said there is enough circumstantial evidence to prove that Adella was the real culprit of Green’s murder, and that over the course of the next two months, all of the evidence will be laid out.

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